The Holy Ghost: His Necessity and Value
Often times the person of the Holy Ghost is not fully understood by the Church. Justifiably, mankind is a finite being and the Holy Ghost is the third member of the triune Godhead, so great difficulty is encountered when finiteness attempts to comprehend infiniteness. However, understanding the Holy Ghost to the best of humanities mental and spiritual ability is important and should be given utmost attention. This attention should be given because the Scripture addresses his person and work. Also, utmost attention should be given because he is working in the Church today. Now, joy may be found in the fact that God can be known and that man is able to know God as religion requires (Connor, 1936, p 45), and that man may understand aspects concerning the Holy Ghost. Therefore, the intent of this paper is to examine the necessity and value of the Holy Ghost.
The Necessity of the Holy Ghost
Introductorily, one could say that the Holy Ghost is necessary because of the aseity of God. In other words, God has the sufficient reason in and of himself to exist: the Holy Ghost is equally God as the Father and the Son, and thus shares the same attribute of aseity. For this reason, the Holy Ghost is necessary. However, there are other reasons why the Holy Ghost is necessary. Two of said reasons are the infallibility of Scripture and the nature of God, both of which are taught in the Scriptures.
The Holy Ghost is Necessary for the Inspiration and Infallibility of Scripture
The terms infallibility, inerrancy and inspiration of Scripture all deal with the question of the whether or not the Bible may be considered trustworthy. The answer is yes, but there is still the matter of showing why the Bible is trustworthy. Church leaders and writers say that the Bible is the Word of God that was definitely written in the words of men (Barclay, 1972, p 139). Indeed, one may logically ask how this took place. The answer is found in the interaction of the Holy Ghost upon the hearts of men, through whom the Scripture was written.
The inspiration and infallibility of Scripture may be simply as being verbal plenary. That is, every word, thought and intent of the writers is inspired by God (Evans, 1939, p 210). This inspiration is through the interaction of the Holy Ghost upon the writers of the canonized Scripture, and is multifaceted in regards to consideration. First, there is the matter of how the Scripture came into being. Peter said that holy men of old wrote as they were moved on by the Holy Ghost (I Pet. 1:21, KJV). Paul spoke along these lines of inspiration when writing to Timothy, when he said that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God (II Tim. 3:16, KJV). The word inspiration is translated as ‘God-breathed’ (Trentham, 1959, p 128). This out-breathing of the Scriptures by God may be viewed in the same manner as the wind of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Ghost interacted with humanity to perform his purpose. He moved on the Apostles and Early Church to empower them, and he moved on the writers of Scripture thereby giving a divinely inspired, infallible book. Second, the Holy Ghost is necessary for the inspiration of Scripture for the Scripture definitely speaks concerning the work which he does and is doing the lives of believers. Jesus spoke at his last Passover meal about the ways in which the Holy Ghost would help his disciples. The Holy Ghost would be an abiding Comforter (John 14:16, KJV), he will be a witness of Christ (John 15:26, KJV), and he would be a guide into all truth (John 16:13, KJV). Moreover, Jesus’ last words to his disciples before his ascension were that the Holy Ghost would give them power to be witnesses (Acts 1:8, KJV). Furthermore, Peter quoted Joel in regards to the coming of the Holy Ghost and stated that it was being fulfilled in the eyes of the people (Acts 2:16-18, KJV). In other words, the Scripture contains countless statements and truths regarding the Holy Ghost, and to dismiss these matters is to dismiss the inspiration of Scripture. Therefore, because the Bible was given through the work of the Holy Ghost, and speaks expressly concerning the Holy Ghost, one will see that the Holy Ghost is necessary.
The Holy Ghost is Necessary due to the Nature of God
Just as the Holy Ghost is necessary to the inspiration and infallibility of the Scripture, so also he is necessary to the Nature of God. There are two ways in which this will be shown. First, it will be shown in the attributes of God. Second, it will be shown in view of the triune Godhead.
The Holy Ghost is necessary due to the testimony of Scripture regarding the attributes of God. First, the Holy Ghost is necessary because God cannot lie (Tit. 1:2, KJV). God must be entirely truthful, and indeed is the perfection of truth (Miley, 1989, p 210). Thus, everything which God has spoken in the Bible concerning the Holy Ghost must be true or God is a liar. If God is a liar he has broken his Word, something which would violate his nature. Second, the Holy Ghost is necessary due to the immutability of God. Stated simply, God’s immutability means that his nature, attributes and will are exempt from change (Bancroft, 1930, p 25). The Scripture teaches that God is one in essence and three in person: his nature is that of a Trinitarian Monotheism (Strong, 1907, p 331). The Holy Ghost is undeniably the third member of the triune Godhead as is taught by Scripture. He is called God, he is called Jehovah (a name used only for God, not creatures), and he has all the perfections of God (Pink, 1972, p 14). Denial of the divinity of the Holy Ghost would be to deny the very nature of God. Dismissal of the work and the nature of the Holy Ghost would cause God to change. Therefore, in light of the formerly given reasons, the Holy Ghost is absolutely necessary.
The Value of the Holy Ghost
There can be no doubt as to the necessity of the Holy Ghost, which has already been shown previously. Likewise, there can be no doubt that the Holy Ghost is of indeterminate value, both to the Church and to the believer. Proof of this fact is abundant and shall be considered forthwith.
The Value of the Holy Ghost for the Church
The Church should place great value upon the Holy Ghost. Endeavors, whether pastoral or evangelical, must find themselves empty without the help of the Holy Ghost. Indeed, the account of Luke concerning the Acts of the Apostles shows this fact in clarity. However, in order that there should be no confusion, the value of the Holy Ghost to the contemporary Church shall be briefly examined.
Scripture is abundantly clear upon the work of the Holy Ghost in the Church. There are two reasons for valuing the Holy Ghost in the Church that shall be considered. First, the Holy Ghost is valuable to the Church because it is indispensable in the expansion of the kingdom of God (Universal Church). Frank Stagg wrote in his studies on the book of Acts that the kingdom of God would not be advanced by the calendar, but by men who witness to the ends of the earth by the power of the Holy Ghost (Stagg, 1955, p 35). Carrying out the great commission give by Christ before his ascension will only be carried out by a Church who is empowered by the Holy Ghost (Barclay, 1955, p 2). It is the Holy Ghost which gives the words to speak to those in need (Mark 13:11, KJV) and it is the Holy Ghost which convicts the hearts of men. Second, the Holy Ghost is valuable to the Church because he imparts gifts for the advancement and edification of the body of Christ. Paul speaks concerning these gifts in chapters twelve and fourteen of the first epistle to the Corinthians. Every gift listed either encourages the Church or shows God’s power and majesty to those who should choose to see. Thus, the Holy Ghost is valuable to the Church.
The Value of the Holy Ghost for the Individual
The Holy Ghost is also valuable to the individual. There are many ways that the Holy Ghost moves on behalf of the believer. Scarborough gives a rather lengthy list of ways that the believer is dependent upon the Holy Ghost, four of which shall be delineated (Scarborough, 1919, p 46). First, the Holy Ghost calls to eternal life. Second, he teaches and guides into truth. Third, he sheds the love of God abroad in our hearts. Fourth, he gives the power that is necessary in the life of the Christian. Each of these works are matters which are essential in the life of the believer. It is the Holy Ghost which draws us to God, or calls us (John 6:44, KJV). The Holy Ghost guides and teaches: it is by him that we can understand the mysteries of God (I Cor. 2:11, KJV). It is the Holy Ghost that helps the believers love each other as Paul wrote in First Corinthians chapter thirteen. Also, he gives the power to be a witness (Acts 1:8, KJV). Therefore, the Holy Ghost is valuable for the believer.
In conclusion, the Holy Ghost is necessary and valuable, both to the Church and the believer. The Holy Ghost is necessary due to the inspiration and infallibility of Scripture, and the nature of God. Moreover, the Holy Ghost is valuable to the Church for the expansion of the kingdom of God. Furthermore, the Holy Ghost is valuable to the believer because he helps in every aspect of the believer’s life. Therefore, the Holy Ghost is necessary and valuable to the Church and the believer.
Bancroft, E. H. (1930). Christian Theology. Bible School Park, NY: Echoes Publishing
Barclay, W. (1972). Introducing the Bible. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.
Barclay, W. (1955). The Daily Study Bible, the Acts of the Apostles. Philadelphia, PA:
Connor, W. T. (1936). Revelation and God: an Introduction to Christian Doctrine. Nashville,
TN: Broadman Press.
Evans, W. (1939). The Great Doctrines of the Bible. Chicago Illinois: The Bible Institute
Holy Bible, KJV.
Miley, J. (1989). Systematic Theology, Vol. 1. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers.
Pink, A. W. (1972). The Holy Spirit. Grand Rapids, MICH: Baker Book House.
Scarborough, L. R. (1919). With Christ After the Lost: a Search for Souls. New York, NY:
George H. Doran Company.
Stagg, F. (1955). The Book of Acts. Nashville, TN: Broadman Press.
Strong, A. H. (1907). Systematic Theology. Philadephia: The Griffith and Rowland Press.
Trentham, C. A. (1959). Studies in Timothy. Nashville, TN: Convention Press.